Disrupting How We Think About Age
Podcast Episode #18
Story By: Andrea Mejia
Natalie, Founder of Team Gu, did a Disrupt Now podcast episode about ageism with Paulina Brusca (on the Team Gu crew).
In the podcast episode, there's a very interesting case study mentioned around ageism and how it happens in tons of corporate entities in their hiring process, please check that case study out here.
Listen to full podcast episode #18 here:
Read on to learn more about how we're starting to disrupt our beliefs around getting older...
When we see a guy with salt and pepper hair, we tend to think he looks wise, distinguished, settled, mature, established, successful, sophisticated, and maybe even “extra” sexy. But what happens when we see a woman with salt and pepper hair? People be like ...
Comments or looks at the woman like she has "given up" or "got lazy” or even worse, that she’s “no longer beautiful.” Unfortunately, women are disproportionately held to this hair double standard more than men. Recently, someone very near and dear to me told me about her recent experience with a female recruiter she was interviewing with; my friend was letting her grey hair grow out naturally at the time. In the interview the recruiter told my friend (who is a female also) that she should dye her hair in order to be considered for any job. Upon hearing this story all I could get out of my mouth was, “WHAT?! A female recruiter said this to you?”
It's cruel and 100% backwards, right!? Let’s go a little further. So a woman can say this to another woman and it’s fine, but if a man were to have said this to a woman, he’s sexist? We can’t just talk about this and hide behind our female parts as a “get out of jail free” card; we need to be all about it too. And, why is it that she has to dye her hair before interviewing for a job that clearly would be looking for a seasoned, well-versed, experienced person? Would this female recruiter have asked a man to do the same? Nope, there’s no way would that have happened! But let’s get on with the bigger issue here. Don’t companies want to hire experience? And, with that said experience, doesn't that mean they’ll be hiring someone that has an AGE that isn’t in their 20’s?! So does my friend’s (or any woman’s) experience and intelligence mean nothing if her hair is grey? We're just labeled "old" versus wise, experienced, and the ones that can TEACH others?
I needed to get to the bottom of this so I did some deep research. I had to find out exactly where this particular double standard came from. After doing some major internet scouring, it turns out that both women AND men dye their hair as they begin to go grey from fear of looking “old” and to evade the omnipresence of their mortality. Hmmmm, interesting. So in other words, both genders are culpable for perpetuating this notion that being young is the only path to freedom and to staying relevant. In our culture, death is considered taboo; instead of talking about it, embracing it, we ignore it and sweep it under the rug, wishing to live in oblivion at the cost of living an authentic life.
Thus, the question of death and the underpinnings of this “taboo” is essentially a “human” problem; a human collective problem that affects everyone and not just certain individuals or one gender more than another (not really). We have created - and continue to create- this behavior. We have created the reality of this taboo, and we continue to enable it through silent consent and complacency. And as such, we are the only ones that can come to our own rescue. We are civilized, intelligent, sentient beings that have the ability and the power to create OUR OWN REALITY (read more on that thought here on our blog).
This is where perspective comes into play. We hold the power and the capability of shaping our lives and we decide how we live them according to how we “perceive” things. With that perspective comes an opportunity, a power, responsibility; an opportunity to grow, to give back what you’ve been privileged to receive. It’s a chance to build a life you envision for yourself (or that business you want to build yourself), the power to think bigger beyond the scope of your ego, and a responsibility to use your power wisely so that you do not abuse it at the cost of other people’s lives.
We are part of this vast network of collective consciousness, and henceforth everything we put out there, we get back. Think of it as the law of conservation of energy: “the energy of interacting bodies or particles in a closed system remains constant.” And even if we are in fact living in a simulated reality birthed by some advanced civilization, I still believe in the freedom of conscious thought. The freedom to believe in something and the freedom to create something. Our limitations lie in ourselves by popular/societal demand and in the clashing of these realities.
Here’s what we’re going to focus on and something our Disrupt Now Program does...instead of believing we need to appear young so as to be accepted by our society, let’s instead talk about death and thus embrace the wisdom, strength, and beauty that comes with age. We are all moving towards that ultimate point when death knocks at our door, and that is our shared reality. During my deep internet research on “ageism” and embracing grey, I noticed there is a trend that people are getting more and more silver in their hair. But, I was disappointed to find that it was just another fad, something “cool” and “trendy” to do. I was really looking for the guts behind the glory of people wearing grey (or silver) proudly. I have, however, been slowly seeing some women (a few in Hollywood) that have started to go grey as an act of rebellion. It is important to note that because they have money and privilege, it is much much easier for them to be accepted in our society for going grey because they are wealthy and popular. With that said, I do not turn a blind eye to the power of pop culture and the fact that that’s how mass change can occur; someone - or a group - of powerful people begin a movement and because of their popularity, the movement can catch fire.
So, we're starting our OWN anti-ageism disruption journey! Natalie (founder/CEO of Team Gu) and I decided that we will proudly stand with this small group of powerful women, and others out there, and also go grey; not as a means to follow some cool trend, but to to make a statement. To honor every woman (and man) that is growing more sophisticated, gaining massive amounts of experience, and getting more beautiful with age through confidence and understanding, as well as through being self-aware! We are going to honor the silver of the hair reflecting the Daeynerys power of the Dragon Queen (shout out to all the other Games of Thrones fans reading this) that is restless in the depths of every woman’s (and man’s) soul, waiting to come out and show the power of her magnificence and wisdom.
WILL YOU JOIN US? We hope you join us; whether it’s by letting your grey hair grow out or by embracing the fact that you are “aging” and/or spreading the word of love and acceptance!
This is Natalie's pic of her EMBRACING! She had slight grey hairs coming in ever so slightly on the top side areas of her hair so she had her hairstylist put in more silver splashes just in front so that as the grey hairs can come on in! It looks blonde but it’s a very silvery-grey.
Her goal: As she is embracing her age (and all her amazing life experience), she can instead start focusing on being grateful to being alive another day, week, month, year instead of dreading it and fighting against it!
Here's my pic. I wanted to start the transition for my full head of hair and got silver/grey put in everywhere and it is an evolution. To get my very dark hair to accept the grey everywhere, you do it in steps. It looks more blonde, but it will evolve into a silver-grey with the next transition so I can focus on choosing to EMBRACE THE GREY and to EMBRACE THE AGING PROCESS.
We have choices. We can choose to stop fighting the process with all the hair dye to hide the grey hair, plastic surgery to take out wrinkles, and all of the other things that just take us farther from really seeing age as true wisdom and truly embracing life.
Share your photo on Instagram and tag @natalieviglione and use the hashtag #embraceage + #disruptnow to begin our anti-ageism disruption journey!
#disruptnow #disruptnowprogram #bedifferent #ageiswisdom
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